Afiniation gives voice to Aust fintech


By Elizabeth Somerville

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The Australian fintech sector needed to find its voice to ensure it did not miss out on the global surge of innovation sweeping financial and technological services, fintech network Afiniation said this week.

Speaking at the launch of the virtual network for fintech innovators in Sydney, group director Ian Dunbar, who previously headed up investment platforms at UBS, said there was no reason why Australia could not be part of the global fintech boom.

“We can be the engine that drives activity in our region,” Dunbar said.

“Why are we looking overseas to see the sources of innovation?”

Afiniation aimed to be the champion of the local fintech community by addressing the four objectives of facilitating a connected community, cultivating opportunities, raising awareness and giving fintech a voice, he said.

To provide connectivity, the Afiniation Nucleus, soon to be launched, would offer fintech companies the opportunity to profile their businesses and stay connected, he said.

“It will enable any fintech company across our region to profile themselves, to tell the audience about who they are, what they do,” he said.

“They’ll be able to write a blog, they’ll be able to upload video content, and it will be able to be followed by anyone that registers who wants to be part of that nucleus.”

Secondly, the group also planned to highlight innovation through its showcase event in September where fintech companies would have the opportunity to demonstrate their talents for maximum exposure, he said.

“We’re going to take the 30 most innovative fintech companies from this region and give them the chance to demo for seven minutes fast-paced, exciting concepts,” he said.

“And then through the year, we’ll continue to run events that focus on innovation across the region.”

The group would also raise awareness through a fintech industry newsletter and build a member community to create the foundation for a fintech industry body, he said.

“We want to give fintech a voice,” he said.

“If this is a community that we can grow and develop, then that provides us an opportunity to start to move Afiniation into an independent industry body that represents the fintech community.

“But that’s going to be guided by what our members actually want and what’s relevant for them.”

Further, H2 Ventures chief executive Ben Heap, who was an early supporter of Afiniation, said there was no reason why Australia could not be a leader in the fintech space.

“I see no reason why we can’t create here in Sydney a Silicon Valley in a financial services and fintech context,” Heap said at the Afiniation launch.

“We already have the platform in place to do that.”

That development could be achieved through supporting early-stage businesses, which had much greater flexibility than their established counterparts to facilitate innovation in the financial technology space, he said.

“The beauty of early-stage businesses is the absolute purity in their focus of what they’re trying to achieve,” he said.

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